Why Scientology enjoys hidden protection from Oz politicians …Senator Nick Xenophon is the sole exception … how Rupert Murdoch became scientology’s public enemy No 1 … Israel’s nuclear arsenal revealed … Great Crashing Bores continued ….
US cult’s dream run in Oz
SOUTH Australian Senator Nick Xenophon this week launched “Fair Game – The incredible untold story of Scientology in Australia” (HarperCollins 2016) written by ABC award-winning journalist Steve Cannane. It is the most comprehensive book on the cult’s Australian operations and a forensic piece of research, written with intelligent judgement and a cloak-and-dagger pace. I couldn’t put it down, and you won’t be able to either!
Xenophon was the ideal person to conduct the book launch. To my knowledge he is the only federal politician who has ever condemned the cult and during a famous speech in the Senate in November 2009 he branded it as a “criminal organisation”. Speaking at the launch he recalled that Labor federal attorney-general Senator Lionel Murphy granted the US-based cult its tax exempt status claiming it was a legitimate religion.
Personally, I have concluded that Murphy, who later became a High Court judge, took the decision to appease the Roman Catholics in the NSW right who feared that a ban may set a nasty precedent and lead to the Catholic church losing its tax-free status some time in the future. The ALP has never revised its stance despite the steady accumulation of evidence that the cult has tormented its followers with verbal and physical abuse and trousered millions of dollars from unsuspecting innocents who have fallen under its wicked spell.
Xenophon told a packed audience at the Giant Dwarf in Redfern that “we need to do more” and he’s absolutely right. I have been tracking the cult’s sinister mischief-making for 50 years, first on Sydney’s Daily Mirror and later while working for the London Sunday Times. (Highlights are covered in my memoir, Come The Revolution, which can be purchased here.)
The essential thing to grasp about Scientology is that it isn’t a religion or a church. It is a cult with a corporate structure i.e. it’s a business. It’s in the racket of accumulating money from tragic believers and investing it in luxury homes, expensive cars, private planes and fabulous salaries for those who run the business.
One of the most gratifying aspects of Cannane’s book lunch was the presence of so many young journalists who all showed a healthy scepticism of scientology and its crazed healing claims. They came from Fairfax, News Ltd, Channels 10, 9 and 7 and some radio professionals as well. The torch of truth is in safe hands.
Why the cult targeted Murdoch
On 21 October 1965, a Liberal MP in NSW Parliament called for a public inquiry into the bogus “Church of Scientology” established in 1954 by the American conman and science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard.
Dick Healey, State member for Wakehurst on Sydney’s northern beaches, alarmed MPs by declaring that the cult may be “a threat to the country”. He presented evidence to parliament that private investigators had been hired by Scientology to spy on prominent citizens who were considered to be opponents. Healey asked whether tactics which threatened freedom of speech “should continue to have the protection of a government that supported civil liberties”.
One investigator, a former policeman named Rex Beaver, claimed he was hired “to obtain blackmail evidence” against prominent citizens including: Rupert Murdoch, head of News Ltd and owner of the Daily Mirror, who was “No 1” on the cult’s target list; Dr William Barklay, director of NSW Psychiatric Services; Dr A G Bennetts, Dr Scott Orr, Dr Edmund Fisher and Dr Carl Radeski, all from the NSW Association of Mental Health, radio journalist Anne Deveson and a Catholic priest named Father Coughlan. They shared something in common: all had spoken publicly against Scientology and warned of its dangers to families and low esteemed or impressionable people with money.
Beaver was paid $60 an hour plus bonuses and expenses by the cult, but decided he would act as a double agent and feed Murdoch with information on Scientology. The arrangement was known to only two people – Murdoch and his loyal editorial lieutenant Brian Hogben.
Murdoch took an instant dislike to Scientology: he smelled a con and encouraged his reporters in Sydney and at Truth in Melbourne to investigate. Truth’s seasoned gumshoe reporter Owen McKenna was put on the case and his story, “Bunkumology – cult of experts at smear tactics”, was splashed on 2 December 1961 sending readers and politicians into a tailspin. “They are operating one of the most dangerous but profitable schemes ever tried in Australia. It’s time they were put out of business,” McKenna wrote.
On 22 October 1968, the day after the explosive revelations in the NSW Parliament, Sir Frank Packer’s Daily Telegraph published an editorial, under the heading “The cult”, saying: “Although the State Government has so far refused to outlaw ‘scientology’ as other States have done, it may be forced to change its mind.
“Three inquiry agents have alleged that they worked to obtain evidence against members of Parliament and other prominent people to silence their opposition to the cult. Whatever practices it may condone in the name of ‘religion’ no community can be expected to tolerate methods of this kind. If the Government, after probing the charges, finds that there is any substance in them, it will be justified in taking prompt and stern action.”
The Telegraph editorial was noteworthy for several reasons: Packer was publicly coming to the support of Murdoch who had recently become his upstart rival in the Sydney newspaper market; his grandson, James Packer, would become a devoted member of the cult 40 years later; and Murdoch would go on to create a secret phone-hacking unit of his own in London to intimidate, frighten and humiliate celebrities, politicians and sports stars.
Start taxing the US cult
Despite repeated media flare-ups, chiefly in the US and Europe, Australia’s Liberal and Labor governments have never taken any serious action to curb the sinister excesses of scientology. In fact, some anti-cult initiatives in Victoria and other States have actually been rolled back due to strenuous lobbying by Hubbard’s followers.
It has left me thinking: how have the cultists been able to get away with it for so long? The only logical conclusion is that Australia must have one the weakest or most malleable political classes in the world!
We finally have a royal commission to stop priests and other god followers from kiddy-fiddling and raping schoolgirls and schoolboys. Yet we are unable to take action against Scientologists who break up families, ruin careers and behave like a private Stasi on steroids. I can take a swipe at Cardinal George Pell, Rev Fred Nile, the Chief Rabbi, the Dalai Lama and the Grand Mufti – but I can’t make a criticism of Scientology without going onto its “enemy” list and being threatened.
I don’t believe Hubbard’s business venture should be closed down: I simply want it taken off the Commonwealth’s tax exemption list. I want it treated as a private corporation and obliged to pay company tax, sales tax, income tax and cough up for superannuation, health insurance and holiday allowances etc to all its employees. If cultists want to give money in support of an inter-galactic after-life beyond the Wall of Fire, it’s their business. However, I resent giving them tax exemption to bludge off the good people, like myself, who pay our tax.
When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison say Australia is facing an economic crisis of generational proportions, I fail to see why the cash-rich Scientologists – who have just opened a palatial and opulent building at Chatswood on Sydney’s North Shore – aren’t paying their way.
Israel’s nuclear bombs
Former US secretary of state General Colin Powell has been “outed” by DCLeaks.com, a whistleblowing site, which has released a tranche of embarrassing Democratic Party emails.
I can’t be bothered wading through all of them, but I did enjoy some of his sharper observations of high-profile political figures: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is a “national disgrace and an international pariah”, Democratic Party contender is “greedy, not transformational” and her husband ex-President Bill Clinton is “still dicking bimbos”.
There was, however, one golden nugget amid all the dross. Powell wrote to his business partner Jeffrey Leeds, a Democratic Party donor, saying that Iran would not use the atomic bomb if it managed to develop one. Why? Because “the boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands. We’ll blow up the thing they care about – regime survival. Where, how would they even test one?”
It was the first time a senior US government official has given a precise number of Israeli nuclear weapons. (Others say it is nearer 300!)
The French government gave nuclear secrets to the Israelis after the humiliating failure of the joint British-French-Israeli ground and air attack on Egypt in 1956 to seize the Suez Canal and overthrow President Nasser. With the help of French nuclear advisers the Israelis built a secret reactor at a secret site at Dimona, stored plutonium, built an atomic bomb and then a missile system to target neighbouring Arab countries.
The existence of the Israeli bombs was kept secret. When Israeli anti-war activist Mordechai Vanunu revealed his country’s nuclear secrets he was kidnapped by Mossad in Europe and jailed for life after a secret trial.
Israel has consistently refused to sign the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreement and will not allow inspections by world bodies. On 8 October 1968 Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol said he was in no hurry to sign adding: “There is no reason to rush into signing the convention”.
That was 48 years ago and still Israel is in no rush to sign. The reality is that Washington guards Israel’s nuclear secrecy while hysterically condemning Iran, Russia, China and anyone else it doesn’t agree with.
Great Crashing Bores – 15*
I can’t stop thinking about those poor bastards in Forbes. They’ve been flooded out. I’ve never seen anything like it. Floodwater has been rushing down the main street, the shopping centre has been closed down and most people have been evacuated from their homes. It’s heartbreaking to watch. Some of the outlying towns are submerged under water too. I don’t remember all their names but places like Cootamundra, Biloela, Camooweal, Oodnadatta and Cunnamulla. One thing’s for sure – it ain’t about climate change. That’s scare-mongering by the greenies. This is just an unusual weather pattern, just like the severe storm which caused Adelaide’s power blackout on Wednesday. This sort of stuff has been going on for centuries. If I was from Forbes I’d move out and buy an apartment on Sydney Harbour. They’d be better off living in Sydney than that shithole in Forbes. Does anyone know where it is?
*Great Crashing Bores is a work of fiction. None of the characters are real; they are inventions. GCB is a satirical sketch of typical blowhards and loudmouths who can be overheard at pubs, clubs, dinner parties, coffee shops and on buses. They vote Brexit and UKIP in Britain, Donald Trump in America and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in Australia. Alarmingly, their number appears to be growing.
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